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Old Ways Original recording remastered

4.0 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 28 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B00004VW35
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,724 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. The Wayward Wind
2. Get Back To The Country
3. Are There Any More Real Cowboys?
4. Once An Angel
5. Misfits
6. California Sunset
7. Old Ways
8. My Boy
9. Bound For Glory
10. Where Is The Highway Tonight?

Product Description

Product Description

The country sounds and autobiographical songs of Harvest and Comes a Time returned on this 1985 Geffen LP, with Neil joined by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Bela Fleck!


Neil Young's most dependable route has always been to head for the back roads. Country-flavored releases Harvest (1972), Comes a Time ('78), Harvest Moon ('92), and Silver & Gold ('00) are among the most commercially popular titles in a fitful career, which makes Old Ways something of a anomaly. Released in 1985 as the mid-title in a misbegotten five-LP stint with Geffen, it failed to exhibit the kind of roughhewn muscle of its more robust country cousins. With Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson making vocal contributions and a mix of longtime Young sidemen and Nashville cats laying down a bed of fiddles, steel guitar, and banjo, it would seem to be cruising right up Music City's main drag of the mid-'80s. But Young being Young, he goes around the bend with "Misfits," which summons an indelible image of space-station astronauts watching reruns of Muhammad Ali fights. It happens to be the most memorable number on Old Ways, which perhaps explains why those new fans never showed up and the old ones found other things to do for awhile. --Steven Stolder

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I remember being vaguely disappointed with this one when it came out. But I'm durned if I can remember why. Hearing it on CD, I like it as well as I liked _Comes a Time_.
It's mostly traditional, straight-up country music, with the usual Neil twists (this time it's astronauts sitting around watching reruns of Muhammed Ali). The opening track -- a beautiful take on "The Wayward Wind" -- is the only track that Neil didn't write, and it's as lovely as "Four Strong Winds" on _Comes a Time_. The guest appearances by Waylon & Willie are suitably understated. The songs are strong.
I honestly do not remember why I wasn't thrilled with this when it was first released. But whatever the reason, I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
I seem to recall that around the time this album was released, David Geffen sued Neil for putting out uncharacteristic and uncommercial music. Well, here's hoping Neil keeps that up forever.
Neil, I apologize for doubting you. I haven't got a _clue_ what I was thinking.
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Format: Audio CD
It is a pity that Neil had upset so many people in the American south with some of his early songs - listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet home Alabama - because he showed with this album that he could record traditional country as good as anybody. Perhaps it was because of those early songs that this album did not achieve the level of success that I had hoped it would.
The album begins with an outstanding duet version of Wayward wind. It features a lady called Denise Draper who is otherwise unknown to me, but sounds a bit like Dolly. Upon first hearing this track, I looked for an album by her but could not find one, so she remains an obscure mystery.
Next come Get back to the country, the first of four tracks featuring Waylon Jennings and Are there any more real cowboys, a duet with Willie Nelson. The fourth track, Once an angel, features a chorus of background singers including Gail Davies.
The remaining tracks are mostly solo, though Waylon can be clearly heard on three of them. Of those, Bound for glory, a classic road song, is a true duet. The others are essentially Neil solos with Waylon contributing here and there. California sunset doesn't feature Waylon but it is a great, upbeat fiddle song.
The whole album is uplifting in mood and features plenty of steel and other traditional country instruments. I don't play it as often as I once did but it remains one of my all-time favorites.
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By A Customer on Oct. 15 2002
Format: Audio CD
Absolutely one of Neil's best records -- even if we're not hearing it as it was originally conceived. And yes, I'm aware there was a lot of griping by the musicians on the sessions. But the proof is in the pudding. Why focus on "Misfits," which is most definitely an acquired taste (and its minimal instrumentation requires a pretty good sound system to really appreciate)? The first four songs on this record are among the best performances Young has made to date -- from his cover of "The Wayward Wind," which he transforms wholly into a Neil Young song, to "Are There Anymore Real Cowboys," which despite its somewhat didactic lyrics is among the most stirring music Young has written. "Get Back to the Country" -- one of the best anti-rock anthems since Harry Nilsson's "I'll Take a Tango."
And that's not even the best this record has to offer. For that, look to the absolutely gorgeous "Once an Angel" and to the
achingly sweet "My Boy" (in which Young effortly produces the touching tribute to the artist's son that John Lennon muffed on "Beatiful Boy"). And the closer, "Where is the Highway Tonight" -- can tear your heart out.
This is a concept record, for sure -- it starts out like a parody of country, and gradually, song by song, Young reveals the gut-wrenching, tear-welling power of the genre. It's quite a feat, and it should be at the top of everyone's Neil list.
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By A Customer on July 8 2002
Format: Audio CD
I believe this is the closest Neil has come to doing a whole album of straight country. He has always dabbled in it, but this goes all the way - there's unabashed cornpone in "Get Back to the Country", unabashed nostalgia in "Are There Any More Real Cowboys?" (with Willie Nelson), unabashed honky-tonk in "Once An Angel", unabashed sentiment in "My Boy", and so forth. "Bound For Glory" is as beautiful a song as he's ever written, echoing Waylon and Willie's "Good-Hearted Woman". Fittingly, Waylon joins him with a lovely, understated vocal.
A special treat is his cover of "The Wayward Wind", a classic cowboy ballad that was previously recorded by the likes of Tex Ritter, Eddy Arnold, and Gogi Grant. I respectfully disagree with a previous reviewer's complaint about Neil sounding raw and off-key on this tune - this is Neil Young, not Perry Como. You have to expect a bit of an edge.
The only departure on the album is "Misfits", a rather lackluster fantasy piece.
Fine as they may be, I enjoy this album more than "Comes A Time" or "Harvest Moon", his most comparable. I think the songs are more fully realized overall, and Waylon and Willie's vocals add depth. But then, I like classic country - I find it frustrating that so many folk and rock fans disdain it even though their biggest heroes have been so heavily influenced by it. Highly recommended.
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